Coronilla sericea Willd.
Sesbania pubescens DC.
Sesbania sericea is a perennial plant producing semi-woody stems from a woody base. The stems, which can grow 1 - 3 metres tall, often have minute prickles hidden amongst the hairs[
The plant is occasionally grown in Asiatic countries as green manure and cover crop[
Tropical Africa - drier areas from Senegal to Somalia, south to Angola and Tanzania.
Seasonally wet habitats]303].
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A plant of arid to moist tropical and subtropical regions, where it is found at elevations up to 1,250 metres. It grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 500 - 2,000mm[
]. The plant is tolerant of high temperatures, at least up to 40°c, but does not tolerate even light frosts[
Prefers a sunny position. Tolerant of waterlogging and also very tolerant of drought[
]. It is adapted to clayey, moderately acid and alkaline soils[
]. Plants grow best in soils with a pH of 5.6 - 9.3[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
It is grown as a hedge tree and wind-break[
]. (A questionable use, since the plant is a herbaceous perennial, not a tree[
The green branches and leaves are used a green manure in the production of food crops, especially rice[
The plant is grown in the inter-rows in banana plantations, and sown at the time of planting the bananas. The legume is later cut and spread out as a mulch to control weeds and also used as green manure[
When sown as a green manure in ginger (Zingiber officinale) fields, the plants are progressively thinned from around the ginger plants to provide green manure or mulch, but a few plants, spaced 2 - 3 metres apart, are left to provide a light shade[
Intercropping it with maize to provide green manure for a subsequent wheat crop has been tried. When sown simultaneously with the maize, it smothered the maize; however, delaying the sowing by 6 weeks did not depress the maize yield and boosted the following wheat yield by about 20 - 40%[
When grown for green manure, it is either grown in situ or in nearby fields, field bunds or waste areas to be transported and dug in the field[
]. Decomposition of Sesbania after ploughing in is rapid. As green manure it can be ploughed in just before transplanting rice. Delaying transplanting may result in a lower response to the green manure[
The wood is used for fuel[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. This species does not require pre-treatment[
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